Welcome to Women’s History Month! This annual holiday honors the study and celebration of women throughout history. For the classroom, it’s a great opportunity to look more closely at the role women continue to play and share inspiring stories. Here at Along, we find the celebration of women’s history deeply inspiring and believe it can lead to individual growth for students. It’s a month for students to see their own aspirations in the context of important women who have changed the world.
So how do we get students to experience this type of growth? It starts with exploring the biographies of female leaders, artists, philosophers, and more. Then follow up with reflection questions in Along that echo the themes of these lessons. This gets students thinking about their own lives differently and to discover inspiration through the histories of women.
Here are four examples of famous women and the reflection questions that echo their stories:
JOAN OF ARC
Perhaps one of the most famous female leaders of all time, Joan of Arc has a biography that leads to discussions of bravery and determination. Make the most of her story by asking students to consider leadership and if they see any of themselves in Joan of Arc’s history.
Here’s a reflection question to get the conversation going: What qualities make a good leader, in your opinion and experience? Which of these qualities do you think you currently have?
ELIZABETH CADY STANTON
A leading mind and force in the women’s rights and suffrage movements, Elizabeth Cady Stanton provides a fierce example of what happens when someone refuses to accept the established order and stands up for what they believe is right.
Help your students consider times in their own lives when they’ve gone against the grain with this reflection question: Think about a time when you disagreed with a widely-held opinion. How did it feel to challenge a popular idea?
ELEANOR ROOSEVELT & MARY MCLEOD BETHUNE
Sometimes a woman’s story is better understood in the accomplishments they made with others. Although they came from very different backgrounds, Eleanor Roosevelt and Mary McLead Bethune formed a friendship based on their dedication to civil rights causes.
Get students reflecting on the power of relationships with the following question: Think about a time when you worked with someone else to achieve a shared goal. How did you work together?
One of the greatest authors of all time, Toni Morrison challenged and reframed American literature and worked with language in a style all her own. Encourage students to take a page from Toni Morrison and to consider how they use words and language.
Here’s a reflection question to get the wheels spinning: What kinds of words, or vocabulary, do you use when you talk about your feelings?
The above suggestions are just the beginning of the conversations you can have during Women’s History Month. From female scientists to astronauts to musicians to athletes, find the biographies that speak to you and then let their stories lead the way to a month of reflection and connection. Your students are sure to grow as they see their own experiences and challenges in a new light.